BYE: Lions, Texans, Colts, Jets
Kevin Kolb @ Tennessee
Analysis: Kolb threw for 326 yards, three touchdowns and one interception last week vs Atlanta. This week he faces a Titans defense that has been poor at stopping the pass. Kolb will be without star WR DeSean Jackson this week, but I still expect a solid game.
Chad Henne vs Pittsburgh
Analysis: This start comes with risk, but if you’re desperate for a bye week filler, Henne could be your man. The Steelers are almost impossible to run against, so teams are forced to throw in order to move the chains. Pittsburgh ranks 24th in the NFL against the pass, and even rookie Colt McCoy, making his first ever pro start, had a decent day against them. Also, McCoy had virtually no offensive weapons at his disposal, while Henne has Brandon Marshal and Devon Bess. Henne might have some success at home this week.
Other QBs with good matchups: Jay Cutler vs Washington, Matt Cassel vs Jacksonville, Matt Hasselbeck vs Arizona
Knoshawn Moreno vs Oakland
Analysis: It’s been a tough year so far for fantasy owners who drafted Moreno. He did get into the mix last week against the Jets and averaged four yards per carry, which is a good sign that his hamstring is getting better. He should get back on track this week against Oakland, ranked 30th in the league against the run.
Chris Ivory vs Cleveland
Analysis: For the fourth week in a row, Saints RB Pierre Thomas did not practice on Wednesday as he continues to rehab a high-ankle sprain. That suggests that rookie RB Chris Ivory will get the starting nod again in week seven against the Browns. Ivory put up a career-best 158 yards on 15 carries last week at Tampa Bay. Four of the Browns’ six opponents have totaled over 100 rushing yards against them, and the Saints could make it five of seven with Ivory leading the way.
Other RBs with good matchups: Matt Forte vs Washington, DeAngelo Williams vs San Francisco, Jamaal Charles/Thomas Jones vs Jacksonville, Ray Rice vs Buf
Jeremy Maclin @ Tennessee
Analysis: Maclin is coming off a monster game vs Atlanta where he caught seven passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns. With DeSean Jackson out this week, Maclin will be the #1 guy for Philadelphia. Tennessee has struggled to stop the pass, ranking 23rd in the NFL.
Patrick Crayton vs New England
Analysis: With Malcolm Floyd, Legedu Naanee and Antonio Gates all nursing injuries, Crayton could be Phillip Rivers’ top target this week. Crayton finished with six catches and 117 yards last week in St. Louis, and has the potential for a big game against the Patriots who give up a ton of passing yards.
Other WRs with good matchups: Johnny Knox vs Washington, Dwayne Bowe vs Jacksonville, Mike Williams (Seattle) vs Arizona
Heath Miller @ Miami
Analysis: Miami gives up a lot of yards to tight ends, and with Roethlisberger back at the helm, Miller is a solid start this week. The Dolphins do have some nice corners that may play tough against Wallace and Ward, forcing Roethlisberger to check down to Miller even more than expected.
Other TEs with good matchups: Jermaine Gresham vs Atlanta, Brent Celek vs Tennessee, Kellen Winslow vs St. Louis
Seattle vs Arizona
Analysis: Seattle is very tough against the run and plays extremely well at home. Max Hall, an undrafted rookie QB, leads the way for the Cardinals who rank 31st in total offense.
Other D/ST with good matchups: San Francisco vs Carolina, Baltimore vs Buffalo, Kansas City vs Jacksonville, New Orleans vs Cleveland
Jay Cutler vs Washington and Carson Palmer @ Atlanta
Analysis: Both of these QB’s have decent matchups this week, but I don’t trust either one. I recommend sitting both guys until they show some consistency.
Other QBs with tough matchups: Ryan Fitzpatrick vs Baltimore, Alex Smith vs Carolina, Colt McCoy vs New Orleans, Vince Young vs Philadelphia
Beanie Wells @ Seattle
Analysis: Wells has been a massive disappointment so far this year. He has totaled 39 carries for 129 yards and no touchdowns. Seattle has been stout against the run and will force Max Hall to beat them this week.
Ronnie Brown/Ricky Williams vs Pittsburgh
Analysis: This RB tandem hasn’t produced much this year (1 TD) and won’t do anything this week against Pittsburgh. If you must start one, go with Brown, who got a season-high 19 carries last week.
Other RBs with tough matchups: Ryan Torain vs Chicago, Brandon Jackson vs Minnesota, Felix Jones vs NY Giants, BenJarvus Green-Ellis @ San Diego
Devin Hester vs Washington
Analysis: Hester is an interesting talent, but is not being utilized in the Chicago offense. In his last four games, Hester has a combined eight catches for 43 yards and zero touchdowns. With Jay Cutler under constant duress, Hester should probably be on the waiver wire.
Louis Murphy @ Denver
Analysis: If Jason Campbell is healthy he’ll start this week. However, if he can’t go, ex-Baltimore Raven Kyle Boller will get the nod. Murphy has four receptions and 70 yards in the past three games and shouldn’t be counted on, especially with the quarterback carousel in Oakland. I’d sit Murphy until Bruce Gradkowski is back and healthy.
Other WRs with tough matchups: Deion Branch vs San Diego, Dez Bryant vs NY Giants, Lee Evans vs Baltimore, Donald Driver vs Minnesota, Kenny Britt v Philadelphia
John Carlson vs Arizona
Analysis: Carlson was a trusted name coming into this year but hasn’t produced. He ranks 26th in TE scoring this year. There are better options available.
Other TEs with tough matchups: Jason Witten vs NY Giants, Kevin Boss vs Dallas, Donald Lee vs Minnesota
New England vs San Diego
Analysis: I don’t like either of these defenses this week. I know San Diego’s defense has been great, but this game has “Shoot Out” written all over it.
Other Defenses with tough matchups: Tennessee vs Philadelphia, Oakland vs Denver, Cleveland vs New Orleans
Pittsburgh Steeler Fantasy Analysis @ Miami:
Rashard Mendenhall, RB
Analysis: Mendenhall goes against the 16th ranked Miami run defense this week. He’ll be limited in practice this week with a sore shoulder, but should be fine for Sunday. Mendenhall is a Top-5 running back and is a must-start every week.
Mike Wallace, WR
Analysis: Wallace finished week six with three catches, 90 yards and a touchdown. He was targeted a total of six times. Wallace has the potential to put up Santonio Holmes-type numbers as Pittsburgh’s #2 receiver. It’s tough to bench Wallace because of his big-play capabilities, even though Miami is pretty good against the pass, ranked 12th in the league.
Hines Ward, WR
Analysis: Ward reached two impressive milestones last week vs Cleveland. He passed Jerome Bettis on the Steeler’s All-Time touchdown list with his 81st score. (Franco Harris has 100 touchdowns to top the list.) Ward also caught a pass for the 183rd straight game, tying him with Hall-of-Famer, Art Monk for the fourth longest reception streak in NFL history. Ward finished week six with a team-high eight targets and with Roethlisberger back, remains a decent #2 WR option.
Heath Miller, TE
Analysis: Miller caught his first touchdown pass of the season in week six. He was targeted four times and finished with two catches for 50 yards and a touchdown. Miller is one of Ben’s favorite red-zone targets, so expect his production to sky-rocket.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB
Analysis: Roethlisberger started slow in week six, but finished with 257 yards, three touchdowns and an interception vs Cleveland. Ben is off to a great start, and all those fantasy owners who waited patiently for Roethlisberger should be rewarded. Miami will be a tougher test this week, however. They have only allowed one quarterback to throw for over 260 yards this season (Aaron Rodgers). Ben is still a solid start.